Explain the significance, to Old Testament study, of the Cyrus Cylinder

Essay by jessie smithersCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2006

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The Cyrus cylinder a 9-inch-long clay cylinder, Discovered at Babylon which records the city's conquest by Persia's King Cyrus. Cyrus took the city by surprise, without a battle. Cyrus also describes his new religious policy of toleration, which allowed captive Jews to return home (Ezra 1:1-3). The Cyrus Cylinder is of significance to the study of the Old Testament as it supports the bible in describing how King Cyrus of Persia defeated the Babylonians and is also depicts his policies toward the people he ruled, and describes their gods.

It gives a picture of The Persian displacement of Babylon, the organisation of Persian provinces and also to the religious and political role of Jerusalem and Samaria. The [pictures given and represented in the Cyrus Cylinder re helpful and significant when studying the old testament as they help us to understand more clearly different concepts and events in the Old Testament especially in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and 2 Chronicles.

In Ezra 1 we see Cyrus permitting all Exiled people (not only Jews) to return to their native lands. His decree is also recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. In Ezra1:1-4 it is evident that the Persian King decides to help the Jews. Here God moved Cyrus to do this. Also, not only did the Persian King allow the Jews to return but the Cyrus Cylinder, Cyrus records his capturing Babylon and decree that other people could return home too.

The Cylinder continues to be significant as it gives a clear view into the attitudes of the Cyrus at the time which is helpful in relating to the events in Ezra. It shows the Babylonians that Cyrus was their friend, and not just a conqueror to be opposed. It continues t discuss the situation of the exiled people.

The Cyrus cylinder...